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Re: comparing code on different branches

From: Etienne Prud’homme
Subject: Re: comparing code on different branches
Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2017 17:48:17 -0400
User-agent: Emacs/25.2 (gnu/linux)

Sorry, I just saw your replay.

Richard Stallman <address@hidden> writes:

> I am not sure what those words mean, so this may (or may not) be an
> important problem.  Could you please describe more concretely a few of
> cases?

I don’t really want to point people.  My understanding is that any
package using Emacs components are subject to the GPL license as it
would fall (in my understanding) as a derivative work.

Some people are not happy with the GPL and remove the copyleft by using
licenses such as MIT, Simplified BSD and WTFPL[1].  Some people go even
further by publishing it in the public domain (unlicense).

I wouldn’t say those licenses are GPL incompatible, but they do not
abide to the GPL (still in my understanding).  GPL incompatibility can
mean a project with licence A can safely become a GPL project.  While
non GPL abiding would mean a project with a GPL license cannot become a
project with license A.

> is there any package in MELPA with a license that is nonfree?

I’ve not seen packages with proprietary licenses (that is software with
license incompatible with the GPL in the sense I said above).

> Is there any package in MELPA with no license?
> (A program with no license is automatically nonfree.)

I’ve seen packages with no license in the past.  It might not be the
case anymore, but I would need to check again.

I think most people using a non GPL abiding license simply don’t know
that their derivative projects is still subject to the GPL license.

A few of them simply don’t care or dislike the GPL license.  They are
aware of the GPL conditions, but don’t consider packages using language
standards (like common lisp) to be subject to the GPL.

That’s a tricky point since Emacs has both an interpreter and its own
functionality.  Having code being interpreted by Emacs doesn’t
necessarily make it GPL.  Someone could use Common Lisp procedures with
Emacs’ interpreter.

Also some Emacs code is in the Public Domain.  From my understanding of
the law it’s illegal to copyright things in the public domain and that
might be the reason why this is so.

I’m not a lawyer, I may be totally wrong on that.

[1] One example is El-get found at https://github.com/dimitri/el-get.
Worth noting it was discussed with
“Please change license from WTFPL (e.g. to GPL)”:
https://github.com/dimitri/el-get/issues/474 and the maintainer rejected


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